Wednesday, 30 April 2008

For Bigots Everything Is Black and Wright

The most intellectually undemanding job in the world is being a Bigot It is also a classic example of that good old marketing stalwart niche marketing or selling your products, services & ideas to a very particluar and tightly defined group of people with similar characteristics. Ironically the term NICHE is particularly appropriate in this context, think of its as NICE corrupted by 'H' for hate in it.

Reverend Wrong isn't even doing anything creative or original and like every lazy thinker and Demagogue before him he is an example of H.L.Mencken's definition:

"one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." It is of course possible to substitute 'gullible' in the place of idiots.

For the Bigot our social world comes in neat easy to understand packets. There are no complexities, no subtleties no dilemmas no contradictions, no blurring of boundaries and no compromises. The Bigot is simple so they world they see is simple, the world problems they notice are simple and their solutions are simple as well.

And the technique he uses? Not charisma, buffoonery, or any of the general explanations of his is how he makes sense of the world. He is what is know as a Splitter someone who notices only differences. In extremis this has to be an immature mind-set. Children make sense of their worlds by noticing differences and pointing them out. Spotting patterns that connect is more sophisticated and intergrating the two approaches more sophisticated too. Try it out yourself. See who is a Splitter and I bet you'll find they are the most pedantic, dogmatic, bureaucratically, unimaginative minded people you know.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Exploding Myths About Blogging

Well I have to say that after a little experimentation

What I can't fathom though is how it seems to generate a significant amount of visitors more than say more conventional conventional 'blog awarenness' routes. One of the commitments you have to make when joining the BE community though is spending time (approximatley 20 seconds)browsing blogs that might not have any interest for you. The benefit in browsing is that you get BE credits that you can use to buy banner impressions (it took me ages to fathom that you need a Flickr or Photo Bucket account to hold your banner -doh!) to promote your blog.

There is a community aspect to BE although it seems quite clunky compared to say Blogcatalog or My Bloglog. That said there are some interesting 'games' all with the purpose of collecting or winning BE credits.

I'd be interested to hear any views about Blog Explosion. Am I being gullible? Is there a catch that I'm missing?

Stuck In Bloggings Revolving Door

Where does being stuck in a revolving door lead? My experience of blogging often seems like I'm just going around in circles. Chasing the 'long tail' and being constantly confronted with the fact that I can't catch it!

In terms of 'creative' output I've probably generated an equivalent number of 'items' to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones in a much shorter period. Not that I'm claiming my posts compare in brilliance. What is interesting is the point at which the creative gold seam finishes? Is there a finite limit to what anybody (no matter how talented) can create?

Presently I'm pondering on what a blog 'DOES', it started out as an investigation so it was means of exploration, then it became a means of self -expression, then a medium for sharing insights and points of view, then an attempt at informing and educating, then commentary and observation, and now?...

I'm stuck in the revolving door. Will my readership increase? If I stop now will the energy expended last year have been a waste of time? What if the next post is the one that breaks through the subscription and visitor barrier. Just like the gambler...just one more, just more ...this next one will be the one...just one more revolution. Surely the emotional and time investment I've made will be worth it. When will I see an ROI. Actually what is the 'R' I'm looking for?

Maybe there are some clues about the reality of blogging Here

Maybe if we had spiral revolving doors that would be different.

Monday, 28 April 2008

A Million Blog Post Questions

It's a mistake to think that Blogs are the place to go for answers. As an aspect of human behaviour blogging raises more questions than is solves.

What is the meaning of a blog post? More interestingly 'where' is the meaning of a blog post? Is the meaning in the post itself? Does the content clarify something, does it give advice? does it educate you about something?

How does it do this to you? What if it doesn't do anything more than turn your attention to a subject? What happens then? A blog post can only provoke you to think it can't do anything more than that, the rest is down to you. Which bits do you connect with? Which bits pass you by? Why do they do this? How do some pieces of information stand out as different enough to be noticed? How do you feel about missing something significant because you haven't the time or energy to read all the blog posts in the world? If blog posts are that important how come no business have closed down because they don't engage in blogging? How come therapists clinics aren't packed with people because they aren't taking heed of the mass of Life Hack advice? How come there aren't millionaires by the bank vault load because of all the monetization advice?

What if blogs are meaningless? Why are so many blogs about providing answers rather than asking questions? Why are blogs that seem to provide ready answers really popular? Are they really popular? Does this mean that most people don't want to think for themselves? Are blogs a form of solitary confinement? Is the notion of social-networking misplaced? What is the value in connecting to people you have never met? How come the human race has done fine without blogging up until now? What happens if all the servers go down? Who benefits from blogging? How do people become opinion leaders? Is it the high quality of leader? Or is it the poor quality of the follower? Do people who blog know something more than people who don't? Does blogging have an effect? If so on who? How?

Does a blog post that asks more questions than it provides answers attract more visitors than one that doesn't?

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Blog Posting and Waves of Interest

After a year of blogging I'm beginning to wonder just how much control we really have over the number of readers we attract. Bloglandshire is packed with advice and tips about methods to generate traffic ranging from creative tips where its 'content' that matters through to the 'dark arts' of SEO and link love techniques.

What I have noticed is that often the number of visitors is unpredictable and never seems to directly correlate with either 'news worthiness',' expertise, interest or originality. There seems to be a deeper 'force' at work perhaps an aspect of Chaos Theory in which the number of factors affecting the popularity of blogpost are that vast and interconnected that seeking the 'magic bullet' is perhaps a fools errand.

As an experiment I'm going to do a couple of posts over the next few days just to see what happens and then I'll post my findings and assessment. In fact this post will be one of the examples that will set out to test the hypothesis that:

Post popularity cannot be correlated to the quality of post.

There is of course a problem with the hypothesis...

Friday, 25 April 2008

The Bank Roll is Over!

Finally UK banks are being held to account over their
excessive charges.

They have abused their power assuming that customers are gullible enough to go on paying through the nose and now their complete lack of authenticity is becoming apparent.

I have argued previously that Banks should be prohibited from marketing what they do as a 'service' and deploying sophisticated social influence techniques in their marketing communications to obscure their real intentions and take advantage their prey. The distress their high handed attitude and behaviour has caused goes far beyond the monetary.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Shakespeare's Henry V Act III, Scene I by Lawrence Olivier

So what is this thing we call Englishness? It is something that is intangible, something that is inseparable from those who know it and feel it. It should not be confused with jingoism or the excesses of imperialism. It is humble, caring, dogged and tenacious, it is self effacing and one of its most enduring characteristics is that it doesn't take itself so seriously that it has to injure others because of its insecurities. Being English is being dependable, being English is battling on against the odds, being English is doing the right thing. Being English is a valuable element of the United Kingdom.

This is St George's day.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Gullp! This Looks Serious

Mary Ann recently posted something which I believe is extremely important to us all. There is some debate however as to whether we have a viral, technical, or psychological problem on our hands.

There is growing research to suggest that Gullibility is a primary factor in the process of human evolution, and analysis of the early papers by Charles Darwin reveal that despite explaining the process of evolution he struggled to identify the cause. It is a little known fact that his ship was named The Seagull (with obvious gulling connotations) only to become known as The Beagle due to a misspelling during a particularly stormy night in the Pacific.

It is becoming clear now that Gullibility is a fundamental pre-cursor to much of human social activity and necessary in identification of the 'un-fit' as in 'not suited for' the prevailing environment.

The contagious power of Gullibility should not be underestimated and as Bob Cialdini shows Social Proof is one of the most effective ways to collect a following of 'gullees' Honestly!!!!!! Its True!!!!!!Believe Me!!!!!!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Blogging: A Symptom of Technology Dependency?

Is Blogging a symptom of technology dependency or is it an authentic expression of individual power and autonomy?

I'm sure that many of you of you will have thought at some time just how precariously modern western society relies on the highly specialised technical knowledge of a few boffins, and this article about how a recently developed Nano switch hints at future chips really brings the point home. Imagine...your PC breaks and you simply thump it with a hammer to re-arrange its atoms to get it going again!

Like all things Nano it can't be seen and yet it has the potential to radically transform the products we use and therefore what they are capable of and how we use them. The thing is, our dependency is directly proportional to technical specialism and as the father of a close friend often says "We're only one power cut away from the Stone Age"

At the other end of the scale there seems to be a desire to get back to the earth and driven by rising food prices talk of having your own allotment seems to one way of getting 'back in control'. There seems to be something very satisfying about the thought growing your own chips which is probably the primeval urge that is driving the technologists!

I guess then owning an allotment is a bit like blogging, the individual key pad is mightier than the Media Tycoons empire, in the same way that the individual gardener is mightier than the Wal-Mart. The irony is that without the 'geekery' I wouldn't be posting this and you wouldn't be reading it, so it seems that we have interdependency between the high tech and the low tech.

Our blogs then are much like allotments, little pieces of the techno sphere that we can call our own, in which we can grow what we want, spend happy hours tending and developing to the level of our capability and interest. Our PCs become our 'sheds' to which we escape, ponder, and plan what we are going to plant next.

I think that we'd be rather gullible to be overly dependent on technology so I'm still left wondering which sort of chips are the best, silicon, graphene, or potato?

Saturday, 19 April 2008

If California Was Utah

Let's assume that a university has a population that contains a Normal Distribution of people. The vast majority are responsible and sensible and carrying a weapon wouldn't create a problem. Even if the gun owner was under direct physical threat from the forces of 'law and order' they could rationalise the situation and realise that they should be compliant. At the tail of the distribution there are those who will react significantly different in this contexts and be unable to control their reactions.

What do you think might have happened if the Berkely University Students were armed in 1969?

Friday, 18 April 2008

How to Make and Spread Rumors

In 1940 the British military formed an organization called the “Underground Propaganda Committee” whose mission was to create and disseminate rumors as defensive weapons against the expected Nazi invasion of the the English mainland. This is that guide.

read more | digg story

2:2 A Sign of Student Calibre?

So its now legal in one US University for students to carry a firearm.

Interesting! So when somebody asks if someone has got a 2:2 do they want to know the calibre of the student or the ammo they're packing?

I wonder what the unintended side-effects of this undoubtedly well intentioned idea will be? Just think...universities are high pressure environments (despite their often calm appearances) Students are under intellectual and deadline pressure and marks, feedback and grades are very important and sensitive subjects.

I've seen how badly students can react when they miss out on a 2:1 mark for an assignment never mind overall grading for a for reacting badly with an armed weapon...well...imagine handing out marks and being told by an unhappy student pointing a gun at you to 'moderate this you b@8stard!'

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Thick As A Brick

I was visiting The Good Blogs when I came across this conservation thread

And it got me thinking. The weird thing about stumbling across this thread too is the synchronicity Just the other day a friend of mine had a really bad meeting with a prospective client. The meeting was chaired by a typical Alpha Female who cynically manipulated the meeting to humiliate and patronise my friend. This disturbing type of behaviour is entirely counter-productive for organisations and the phenomenon of 'thick as a brick wall' should be recognised in the same way that we have put 'the glass ceiling' on the agenda.

Invariably 'thick as a brick' people rely on the creative input of others to make themselves look good. Ironically however they display a classic symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder so that when discussions become too intellectually demanding and conceptually hard to grasp they turn on the idea and its proponent and destroy the very thing they wish to feed off! Classic lines being 'I just don't get what your talking about', 'I can't see the relevance of this', 'You're not convincing me' all of which turn their own failings into criticisms of the provider of the inspiration. Eric Fromm in Anatomy of Human Destructiveness provides an incisive analysis of Adolf Hitler in this context.

The imaginatively limited who happen to be in positions of organisational power spell trouble for all organisations. Their limitations mean that they are incapable of making meaning of the unusual and different. They are locked in a dogmatic rut. They suppress talent in order to control something they don't understand and they threaten the capability of organisations to adapt and change, and as an added bonus cause havoc and upset for co-workers and suppliers along the way. So who's the TAAB with the Barb in your place?

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Gullible Retailer Prediction

One of the key issues facing any business is the issue of competitive advantage and one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that the calibre of the management team is capable of conceptually exploring new approaches and new ways of working. This requires a high degree of personal self-awareness and reflective capability.

When this is lacking in an organisation the incumbents are invariably imbued with a sense of over confidence and an arrogance towards opportunity for change that manifests itself in a Luddite-esque transactional attitude to people and organisations that can make a difference.

Particularly susceptible are so called 'creative' types who have themselves 'taped' as imaginative when all they are doing is re-engineering the existing formulae within the impoverished limitations of their stunted managerial capability. These 'high priests and priestesses' of retail head office management perform the same rituals to a dogma that might have worked for them in the past are doing their businesses no service (sic) at all. The notion of co-creation is lost on people who believe good management is 'taking' rather than creating.

These managers are organisationally politically vulnerable and they know it deep down, they are the abusers of position and power and they hold back initiative, imagination and conceptual inventiveness. These types of manager actively suppress alternative lines of discussion and surround themselves with nodding acolytes who are either too scared to speak up or lack the moral fibre to question the person in charge. They use aggressive un-cooperative tactics by mistakenly claiming 'that's how to do business' around here. This is short-termism and it has its obvious consequences. Complacency and arrogance always leads to trouble. This is the behaviour of the Gullible. It is also the behaviour of individuals that have to prune imagination back until it is within the manageable limits of their ability to control and understand.

I predict worse times to come for 1 major UK retailer in particular that is falling way behind Tesco in terms of competitive thinking capability. A serious and deep audit of managerial ability is needed for this to be averted. I suggest the first port of call is The Lack of Talent and Imagination Department.

Who do you think this is?

Monday, 14 April 2008

Are Degrees Being Built on Foundations of Sand?

With headlines such as Selling Beds is Now A Degree Course you'd be gullible if you thought that idea of Foundation Degrees somehow undermined the intellectual demands of students undertaking vocationally orientated study.

Potential students would be gullible too if they expected a Foundation Degree to be a 'soft touch'. For starters any form of part-time study places demands on self-management skills, and balancing serious study with a full-time job is not easy.

Business orientated degrees have always emphasised the application of conceptual understanding and a Foundation degree is simply another 'path' of higher education experience, that opens up choice. Its almost like saying that the scientists designing and conducting experiments at CERN as less intellectually worthy than the theoretical physicists who have have suggested the things they can work on.

Mass media simplification and old school intellectual snobbery merely exemplify the lack of education that they smirkingly try and have a go at. Education is an experience not a subject. Some students will muddle through, some will learn 'strategically' and some will transform their outlook and their abilities. This will happen regardless of the 'delivery' method.

The phenomenon of Retailing is a significant and important dimension of human social and economic life. It involves deep understanding of a wide range of behavioural, psychological, technical and managerial skills. It confronts students with ethical dilemmas and challenges them to connect abstract management concepts.

Like any form of education it runs the risk of being normative and prescriptive, however innovative retail thinking is essential for the creation of new retail concepts capable of meeting the challenges of the Experience Economy and continually delivering value so that you and I shop.

This isn't just (sorry M&S :) ) about powerful supermarkets its about entrepreneurial opportunity at the local level. Foundation Degrees are essential in order that Retail Wheels don't get stuck in the sand!

Friday, 11 April 2008

The McCanns The Matthews & The Massification of Misery

According to Urban Dictionary something is massificated when it turns something into an object of mass consumption.

Nothing could be more true of the Mcann and Matthews stories, and I wonder if like me you are beginning to question the personal and societal impact of sharing in the despair and misery of other people.

Naturally the use of mass media to alert people to a missing child is a good thing, but are we equipped to continually share in the personalHell of everyone else in the world?

Life can throw some pretty crap stuff at us, and presumably we need to be resilient enough to deal with it when it happens. If our emotional energy is always being sapped by the massification of other people's troubles then surely we must be less able to help ourselves when the time comes? There are professionals who choose a vocation dealing with the stuff we don't need to deal with until we have to so why the obsession with wall to wall misery?

What do you think?

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The E Number is Up

Not that any parents of need to be told that E Numbers send young kids hyper, just throw an M&M party and you could power the lights in a small town for a month.

You're not telling me that the creators of these things didn't know what they were doing? Even the names would make a druge dealer feel inferior. So its good news that tehre are calls for them to be banned

Take Allura Red The MSN Encarta dictionary definition of allure is attract powerfully: to exert a very powerful and often dangerous attraction on somebody Somebody's having a laugh aren't they?!

This is techno-commercialism really trying to exploit the gullibility of the consumer by taking advantage of our trust and lack of scientific knowledge. Those involved should be going E162 in shame!

Is The Recycling Of Marketing Ideas Causing Web Pollution?

Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion has published a really interesting provocative post discussing how
Many Marketers Pollute the Web

I think Steve gives cause for us all to think about the authenticity, integrity, and depth of understanding of the marketing philosophy shown by marketing executives and so called business gurus. I agree entirely with his observation that the interweb is cluttered with half baked marketing ideas and simplistic methodologies all claiming to deliver the next geewhizz breakthrough or simply recycle standard methodologies and dress them in new clothes. Marketing as a profession continues to face challenges to its gravitas and credibility.

The discerning reader will realise, of course, that marketing without integrity is simply intended to dupe the gullible. The promising news is that Web 2.0 shows the good, the bad and ugly in close proximity so that it is easier to benchmark the quality of what is being presented, and no doubt as more and more people hone their critical information skills then the 'pollution' that Steve talks about should get mopped up by the detergent of reader/researcher expertise.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Sect 2.0 - Design Your Very Own Stairway to Heaven

Following the lead of Sect Prophet Warren Jeffs who claims that in order to get to heaven a man must have at least 3 wives, I thought it might be a good idea to capitalise on the power of Web 2.0 to enable everyone to have a go at designing their own Sect. So welcome to Sect 2.0

In order to get as many followers as possible you need to come up with a really good Value Proposition that will entice people to use your Stairway To Heaven and remember you are going for the highest gullibility factor.

Monday, 7 April 2008

How Many Tapas Can You Name?

The Portuguese Police are flying in today as part of the McCann investigation for a Tapas 7 quiz. When I read about this I had to try really hard to name 7 Tapas.

Ablondigas! That would put the lid on it for me if I entered their quiz, I'd never win.

How many can you name?

Saturday, 5 April 2008

The Alternative UK Citizenship Test

The Exam setters for the UK Citizenship Test have been a bit gullible expecting that people wouldn't play the system by getting proxy's to sit the test for them. This does seem a case for the application of bio-metrics, however that costs alot of money and there are I'm sure more cost effective options.

I would go for a much more dynamic and localised test that takes its lead from the 'football hooligan's' trick of stopping someone and asking who plays left back for the local team to find out if you from 'around these parts'before they puch your lights out. Alot more low brow than Whitehall high brow and 100% more effective.

My question suggestions would be:

1. Where is Acacia Avenue?

2. If your bus is late how many buses do you expect to arrive in the next 10 minutes?

3. It is rush hour how many coaches would you put on the commuter train a)1 b)2

4. What colour is Noddy's hat?

5. How far would you walk to 'go all around the Wrekin'?

6. Why is there only one lake in the Lake District?

7. Where is Stilton Cheese made?

9. Why are Public Conveniences neither Public or Convenient?

10. What materials are used to build Fish and Chip shops?

Additions gratefully received, they will then be forwarded to The UK Border and Immigration Agency

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Is A Gullibility Test Ethical?

Linksprocket are carrying an interesting post entitled US Army "Scams" Service Members to Test Their Spam Gullibility

Now isn't this a case of Double Gullibility? What are the army famous for? Well- giving orders and expecting them to be obeyed without question would come pretty close to top of the list. So what did the creators of this little scheme expect?

Of course the people they sent the message would carry out the orders especially since it was passed off as one of the most trusted divisions of army welfare.

Is it ethical to dupe people you have trained to trust your instructions?

10 Ways to give your blog a buzz with Caffeine Creativity -

At last! scientific justification for my habit.

Dr Jonathan Geiger University of North Dakota (I couldn't help imagining people making faster and faster clicking noises as he walks towards you) claims that Daily caffeine 'protects brain' This is especially good news if your Rabbit has a blog as caffeine it seems prevents de-generative brain disorders.

In order to test the hypothesis I am currently drinking a big mug of coffee...let's see what seems to be working...

1. Do several varieties of the same post...(latte post, mocha post, with chocolate etc)

2. Ask the cream of the blogging community to do guest posts

3. Filter news sites for inspiration

4. Make sure there is a lid on your post so that you don't overspill

5. Post something every time you make a fresh cup of coffee.

6. Write a post about what your are really addicted too...the coffee or the posting

7. Write a Post entitled 'Bean There Done That' (groan)

8. Take time out to let your ideas percolate

9. Write a post on a Hat and a pair of Trousers and title it Cap and Chino

10. Check Wikipedia to find out if 'You f'coffee' really is a Chinese insult.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

England Banks on Past Ideas

As the world wide credit crunch begins to bite even deeper, and traditional forms of trade come under pressure the English Government is pursuing unpaid royalties across the world for its back catalogue of Inventions to replace falling tax revenues.

Lawyers have petitioned embassies across the world informing them that substantial claims will be made retrospectively and that interest will be added.

Andrew Prill England's Minster for Forgone Overdue Outstanding Licences is quoted today as saying...

"English inventiveness has been taken for granted for years and now its payback time, it should be expected that some smaller nations might sadly go to the wall as we collect unpaid royalties that are due"